Walking away from a business is never easy!
Whether it’s for financial reasons, a major life change, a global pandemic, or all of the above — I’m giving you a transparent look behind the screen and giving you real insights on what it was like to close a business in 2020.
If someone would have told me that I’d be closing down my entire wedding planning company and venue location in June 2020, I would have laughed in their face. After starting my own wedding planning business in February 2016, and eventually growing to starting my first Venue location in 2018, churning out over 100+ events and hitting that 6-figure revenue goal I’d always dreamed of, closing was the furthest thing from my mind.
However, COVID-19 and the rest of 2020 had other plans. In June 2020, my husband and I took a hard look at the business and with the serious limitations on mass gatherings and social distancing limitations throughout the year, we had a tough decision to make. But when you’re deciding to walk away from something you’ve invested SO much time in over the years, the choice is never easy. Here are my top 5 tips for things you need to do BEFORE you close your business!
The first thing we had to do was sit down and take a hard look at the numbers and forecast into an unknown future. Now my husband is a CPA so definitely easier said than done on my part! I’m fortunate to have someone who looks into the financial future for a living but you’ll want to seek advisement from an accounting professional to determine if there is some unicorn scenario that would allow you to keep going. We ran projections for every possible thing that could happen, best and worst case scenarios through and through. For us, the numbers didn’t make sense for our financial well being as a couple. Use this as a time to get real about how sustainable this decision would be for you and your future and don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself! You may not like what you find when you crunch some of these numbers but it truly is the best first step when you’re thinking about making a decision this HUGE!
Often times, we attach ourselves to our business and believe, we are the business. Under this belief, closing your business could start to feel a lot like deciding you’re a big failure who has ruined your entire life. Stepping outside of this belief and shifting your perspective can be a life changing moment that allows you to show up to this decision with a level head and a clear mind that says, “here is something I did that didn’t work out.” As opposed to “here is someone I was trying to be and now I failed completely at being that person.” When you come to terms with who you are and remember your real identity, you’ll be able to move forward with intention and compassion, over guilt, sulking, and shame.
What if closing your business isn’t the only way? Have you tried everything? A potential sale, an acquisition, a joint partnership, or buy out? These are all realistic options for you and these exit strategies aren’t just terms coined by the big corporations. They can work for your small business too! I was surprised at all the options available to us as small business owners and you want to make sure you try every single thing possible before you settle in on closing it all down!
Be sure to obtain legal advice when you’re navigating your exit strategy and ensure you aren’t breaching any legal agreements you have outstanding with landlords, clients, or business partners. Your mind and your wallet will thank you for it later!
The firestorm of emotions to follow this decision was the #1 thing I was not prepared for. Who knew that grieving a business could feel so similar to grieving a person? The grief that set in once I realized the decision was officially made was tough and it’s super important that you treat this like any other major life change. Seek opportunities for rest, reseting, grieving, and lots of self compassion. Again, this is all about your mindset here. You did not fail, and even as you navigate this decision you are not failing. You are simply doing the best you can with what you have in front of you and you will get through this. Be intentional with your plans for post closure. Plan a vacay, take time off, (or do what I did which is binge cry in the fetal position while watching Grey’s Anatomy during the week and go to therapy all weekend)
I had a hard time deciding if I would talk about this on the blog or not because it can feel so vulnerable to expose yourself to sharing some of what seemed like the darkest times in your life. But as I type these words on this site, where I plan to execute so many beautiful things this year — I’m reminded that this wasn’t the end. Simply a new beginning. I hope that as you’re reading this (and if you’re reading this because you’re on that fine line of deciding what to do next) then I hope you feel seen in this moment. That you feel called out on the fact that it won’t be over, it just won’t be what you planned. It’ll be a new start and you’ll do it again just like you did it before.
2020 rocked us all and took us to new highs and lows we never imagined. If you’re in a tough spot right now as a result of the impact of COVID-19 or any other major life event, use these tips to recenter yourself and feel inspired to move forward with intentionality and power.